when i woke up this morning, i lay in bed in a sort of existential dread, one that’s not overly dramatic but one that wasn’t lighthearted enough for me to shake off. i try to take things profoundly but not too seriously, because i live lightly in peace but heavy in truth. so i don’t fret that i’ve lived 24 years now; rather, with all the life events coinciding with this weekend, i see my past, my future, and my present all at once. weird.
yesterday was a pleasant evening. i was in msn for the first time in weeks, and a dinner with friends (outdoors) seemed appropriate to celebrate the warm(er) weather fighting to stick around. as we hugged the capitol square, a flurry of shutterbugs captured life in front of the city’s monumental structure. proms, graduation, weddings - sequentially arranged on each of the capitol’s four sides. “all stages of life!” i exclaimed.
and there i stood, walking on that sidewalk and thinking that the things that culminate into those milestones aren’t captured in those photos. that there are other milestones worthy of capture but that aren’t always captured. i also believe there are hardships worthy of capture that aren’t always captured - why shouldn’t they be?
so thank you to all who have wished me a happy birthday. it’s been a lively life worth living, and i’m sure there are eventful years - full of milestones and un-milestones - to come.
to those who have graduated - congratulations; it only gets crazier from here on out.
to those who are entering into a the journey of making a lifelong commitment (of all types) - congratulations; nothing you are about to undertake can be taken lightly, and it’s a sort of courage i’ve realized i don’t yet have.
to those reaching the un-milestones - congratulations; celebrate, even if they are the hard times; celebrate, even if they are seemingly small things. it’s worth it.
as a sidenote, i’ve concluded this year that birthdays are a weird thing.
wow, the blogging is sparse, huh? there’s much to do, little time, and too much heart & mind to process into neat sentences and words. lately, life is messy & chaotic, and i’m okay living it & organizing the chaos into order without putting all on blast. i’ve definitely thought about retiring the blogosphere. the internet is no place for word vomit & emotional dredge, after all. reservedness and caution are things i hold dear.
hmm, but let’s see what i can muster up anyways. i’m about to see my first big project through to the end (the end begins tomorrow) and it’s weird to think about it ending so suddenly.
speaking of endings, the mass exodus of those-leaving-madison begins soon. that is also strange. it’s like graduation all over again, but it’s more sad, on a more significant scale, and maybe brings about existential dread (just kidding, that’s me being dramatic; think more along the lines of “that’s a could’ve been”). even though you graduate from school, it seems the world continues to run on an academic calendar, with transitions and moving-on’s flowing with the life that returns in spring.
well, after this project ends, i’m thinking it’ll be time for old friends, new friends, and my own transition. i think. dare i say? it is well. i’m more than okay living the life that is truly life.
recently i’ve been seeing a lot of posts on social media re: this #100happydays project that friends are undertaking. i don’t really know where it’s inspired from (sorry, i live under a rock…worse yet, i potentially live in my work…), but i do like the spirit behind it. after all, we are creatures of habit. if we can be happy or find something that makes us happy for 100 straight days, then it should carry over past those 100 days, right?
maybe 100 days is too daunting to me, or maybe it’s not that i really have trouble with *being* happy, with the emphasis on the being. i’ve just recently been having a hard time loving, being patient, and, really, being the person that i am [meant to be] while at work. if i’m honest, i don’t often like the work i am doing and i don’t like the person i am becoming.
so, starting this week i am focusing on merely having good days at work. that’s pretty vague, but i’m walking in every day to work with the mindset of “today is going to be a good day.” that could mean productive, that could mean that i don’t lose my temper in the day, that could mean that i am particularly helpful when interacting with someone else. i don’t want to limit myself to happiness, and i also don’t want to limit it to a certain number of days, so i am taking it day by day.
one good day at a time.
this winter-spring time has been (per usual) chock-full of things that make my calendar look like the highest level of a particularly challenging tetris game. one of the things i am doing is leading a “roots” group for aaiv, which is iv-speak for a book cohort, which is further-iv-speak for “a-group-of-around-4-5-girls-that-meets-once-a-week-for-an-hour-to-talk-through-and-process-a-book.”
the book that our group is reading is called “one.life” by scot mcknight. mcknight talks a lot in the beginning about dreams and how it is our natural instinct as human beings to be dreamers.
now, i’m a before-i-met-jesus-i-was-really-sarcastic-and-negative kind of girl, so fluffy clouds and rainbows and unicorns were never really my thing, and, even now, i like to stay away from cheese and corn. but, i mean, i think dreams really are something that we participate in, and we are regularly swept away by our need to participate in something bigger than ourselves.
i find it kind of ironic that we have this inherent desire to participate in something grand & great. because…well, we have such a hard time thinking outside of ourselves. we get stuck on the immediate details or the next steps that we can touch, hear, see. i wonder if we get swept up by the dream of participating in something greater (swept up by things like a cause or a company or a culture [like dance]) and allow ourselves to be satisfied by it when in actuality, there is a greater arc that sweeps farther than we could ever imagine.
my junior year, i went on this crazy eurotrip and found myself needing to travel alone for a little part of it. i had to leave my companions at the brussels train station to take a train by myself to the brussels airport and fly to athens to meet a high school friend studying abroad in greece. i have a blog post on this, but i can’t find it, so i’ll just repeat it here: i freaked out for a little bit because at first i thought i had gone to the wrong brussels airport (there are two). once i calmed down and realized i was in the correct airport, i sat for a little while and watched people.
it was like a scene out of the movies, you know? where you’re sitting there before a huge glass wall that looks out on a scene where all the airplanes are arriving and departing, taxiing and parking at gates. it was a grey day; there weren’t really clouds in the sky, but i remember there was dull lighting filtering through the windows.
as i sat there, in a foreign country by myself, i suddenly felt small. not that i was insignificant, but i really was, because my footprints in the vastness of the world were and are miniscule. who was i, a lonely traveler, when there were all these other people, coming & going? who was i, when there is this great & big God who knew all these people? who not only knew, but also moved with all these people?
that humble moment is what it took for me to understand how to look beyond myself. i’ve been wondering lately how others might be able to know how to look beyond themselves — and understand that there is this vastness that we aren’t meant to get lost in, but participate wholly and impactfully in. how have you come to understand this? i’d really like to know, so if you want to pull me aside or email me, i’d be happy to listen.
walking my sight is so much easier than walking by faith; it’s easier to focus on my feet than look up & squint at the horizon and sometimes not really knowing where the destination is. but here’s the paradox: i’m already at my destination, just not yet. it’s not a matter of time, it’s not a matter of space; it’s a matter of participating in his vision.
with that comfort, i could joyfully sit in an airport and feel small for forever.
“ As Christ breaks bread and bids us share, each proud division ends; the love that made us, makes us one, and strangers now are friends. ”
"I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord"
No more than a hundred years are we given
And we spend most of that to survive than barely living
As soon as we’re born, we’re starting to die, to be immortal is still just a lie
Running a race, no one is winning
Is it true in one man, we are forgiven?
That he held our souls in his hands from the beginning ,
Or is this just one chance that we get to live our lives without regret -
pay no heed to whether or not we are sinning?
Will we live forever, will the saints receive their crowns?
Will we be remembered, when we’re six feet under the ground?
Or can a short life, still make a mighty sound?
All the wars and disease and the cries and pleas and the fearing,
and the faith that we had long ago now disappearing
Millions of souls beg you to hear, for most of us you’re hardly near
We still pray, hoping you’re listening
Will this last forever, will our hopes and dreams be drowned?
Our prayers never remembered as our tears soaked through the ground?
Or can a small voice still make a mighty sound?
Can a fearful heart still find courage when there’s no more faith to be found?
Can a broken world, still make a mighty sound?
Will we live forever, will the lost and last be found?
Our sorrows never remembered, as every knee falls to the ground -
And a short life will make a mighty,
and a million voices will make a mighty,
and a broken world will make a mighty sound?
in britain (i have been watching a lot of sherlock lately), the underground, or “the tube,” has signs everywhere that say to “mind the gap.” the words are meant to serve as a warning for passengers to watch their step while boarding the train, as there is a, well, gap between the platform and the train.
i’ve been thinking about these words in a sense that is both similar and different lately, in that i feel as though there are too many gaps (i.e., chasms, gulfs, rifts, splits, separation) in my life, in the lives of those around me, in the world, really. and when i say “too many,” what i mean to say is “there are gaps when there should be none.”
think of it as…a venn diagram. when really it should be concentric circles, where the little circle is me and the larger circle is God, or maybe vice versa, though i’m pretty sure i mean the former. there’s just so much…empty space in between, and i’ve filled it with my selfishness and brokenness and messiness and pain. and all that piles up in the negative space to form walls and barriers that multiplies the Separation. i think we’ve all got something to throw into that pile.
what an ugly picture.
i had a strange flashback (perhaps appropriate for hashtag-throwback-thursdays) today as i was thinking about all this. when i was around 8 or 9 or 10, my parents signed me up for an overnight summer camp. there are a few prominent memories that stuck out to me and displayed temporarily one after another in my mind’s eye (much like one of those old fashioned photo slide projectors) —
swimming in a lake & being terrified of 20+ feet of water, smelling like lake, tubing for the first time, relay races, being horrifically aware of my asianness/otherness for the first time, horse back riding, and awkward friday night dances.
really the summer was rather unextraordinary if you think about it, but what became apparent to me was how distant and removed the whole memory felt. and sometimes i slip into weird phases when i feel like an outsider looking in, part of the world, but not really, trying to mind the gap between one side of the veil and the other.
and how can i mind the gap between my vision and the lord’s? between heaven and earth? for truly i (and you) am not meant to live on the outskirts of the venn diagram, teetering on the thin line & separated from the creator and one another.
mind the gap, You say. empty it, and cross it. the veil is torn.